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Triple Talaq and its relation with Islam

Triple Talaq is a form of divorce prevailing in some of the Islamic communities, wherein a husband can divorce his wife by reciting the word ‘TALAQ‘ 3 times in a row. While it might seem to be a very ungrateful thing to do, it really is!

Going to the roots:
Talaq is an Urdu word which literally means denial, and in Islam, it means denial of the relationship between the husband and wife. So talaq is mainly used to describe divorce. Here, it is worthy to note that Islam does not in any way support divorce. It is in fact, the most disliked act any Islamic follower can perform, and the Quran has allowed divorce only under exceptionally unbearable circumstances.

When we talk about the Quran, we cannot say that it is a law book. Rather, it is just a guide that, if followed, would lead to a peaceful life, closer to God. However, when we talk about the Muslim laws, they cannot be said to belong to the Quran. These laws are made when highly educated spiritual leaders sit together, have discussions upon the guidelines and make laws out of inferences from the guide. Having said that, every man on this earth has his own inference about anything. Hence, the laws are just the very thought of great scholars of Islam, mixed with the lives that the Prophet (PBUH) and his followers lived upto.

On the same page, when we talk about how the Quran defines divorce, it again leads to N number of possibilities and beliefs.

According to most of the reads, there are 2 types of talaq that the Quran allows:

  1. Talaq-e-Hassan and
  2. Talaq-e-Ahsan.

Talaq-e-Ahsan is considered to be the most appropriate way of talaq. Here, the husband pronounces his divorce, and then waits for his wife to complete a period of three menstruating cycles. This period is called the Iddah or Iddat. The wife cannot marry another man in the period of her iddat. If the husband wants, he can revoke the divorce in this period.

Talaq-e-Hassan basically means that the husband can divorce his wife by three pronouncements of the word 'talaq', one in 30 days each (or after each of the 3 menstrual cycles). Hence, this 3-month period is said to be the time of iddah of the woman, and it is in these 3 months that the husband can revoke the divorce.

Now when we talk about Talaq-e-Biddat, or Triple Talaq, a majority of Islamic communities do not consider this method to be a part of the holy Quran. It is said that Hazrat Umar had started this practice, but had revoked it when men under his rule started misusing the power. Hence the kick off!

Triple Talaq in India:

Triple talaq has been one of the biggest headlines lately. There have been a number of cases of divorces given by husbands to their wives without their consent, and without a considerable amount of reasoning.

The uproar started when Shayara Bano had been given triple talaq by her then husband, Rizwan Ahmed in 2016. She filed a petition in the Supreme Court saying that three practices – triple talaq, polygamy (husband having more than one wife), and nikah-halala (to remarry the first husband after triple talaq, the woman has to marry another man, divorce him, and then she can marry her first husband) were inhumane and against the Constitution, and hence, must be illegalized.

The Constitution of India recognizes equality before the law (under Article 14), prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion (under Article 15(1)), right to life (Article 21), and freedom of religion (Article 25). Ms. Bano voiced against the practices saying that they were absolutely unconstitutional, and were violating their fundamental rights given by the Constitution. She also argued that these practices not only violate the most basic human rights, but also violates their social, economic, civil and cultural rights as laid down in international agreements.

A number of political and human rights activist groups were involved in the protest. A panel of 5 judges was laid to give a decision upon the case. In August 2017, the panel rolled out the judgement with the majority ratio of 3:2, holding triple talaq as unconstitutional and illegal in India under Article 14 read with Article 13(1). The court also clarified that it had only illegalized triple talaq, and not the other two practices that were included in the petition. The government introduced a bill to criminalize triple talaq, which was passed by the Lok Sabha in December 2017, and concluded that it is not essential to the practice of Islam. The offence now involves a maximum of three years of imprisonment along with a fine decided by the Magistrate. The offence is non-bailable.

Triple talaq is an exquisite example of gender inequality. Under this practice, while men have all the rights to invoke divorce without any explanation and warning, women on the other hand have not rights to either invoke, or revoke divorce on their behalf. A study by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) in 2015 revealed that 1 in every 11 women was the survivor of triple talaq, having no means of earnings, or alimony at the moment of action.

Shah Bano Begum, at the age of 62 was thrown out of her house by her husband merely after 14 years of their marriage, as he had married another woman (remember, polygamy is legal in Islamic laws). So she filed a suit demanding maintenance of  Rs. 200/month from her husband, as mentioned in Section 125 of CrPC. To avoid this expense, he gave her instantaneous triple talaq so that he would have to pay her only for the period of iddah. So she fought against him and won the cases. Though it was reversed by the then Government in power in the fear of loosing Muslim votes, it still became one of the historic cases against the triple talaq movement.

There have been a number of cases as of Shayara Bano that led Muslim women from all over the country to come out on the streets and protest against the evil practice.

  • A woman in Hapur, U.P. was given triple talaq by her husband when she asked for Rs. 30 to buy medicines, and then was thrown out of the house.
  • A woman in Sitapur said that her nose was chopped off after she refused to take back the complaint she had registered against her husband for giving her triple talaq.
  • Another woman in Muzaffarnagar filed a complaint of triple talaq given by the husband working in Kuwait when she filed a case of dowry harassment against her in-laws.

Be it triple talaq or other practices such as polygamy and nikah halala, Muslim women are fighting against these from all over India.

Nida Khan was given divorce by her husband in 2015, within a year of their marriage. She had filed two cases for triple talaq and domestic violence. In 2018, after triple talaq was declared illegal, the authorities had been ordered to look into the case and take necessary actions.

Nida now runs and NGO to help other women fight such practices. She is also fighting against the practice of Nikah Halala, and says she has had been a victim of the same when, after her divorce, she was forcibly made to sleep (or consummate her marriage) with her father-in-law and brother-in-law to remarry her husband. In 2018, the Supreme Court had probed in orders to look into the petitions that were filed against the two practices – nikah halala and polygamy.

Not just oral or written, Muslim husbands have found a very fast approach to divorce. Another woman, Farahnaaz Khan was given instant triple talaq via the popular social media app – Whatsapp. In 2017, she was shocked to receive a video message over whatsapp from her husband Yawar Khan who gave her divorce. Later she had filed a case against her husband. During the hearing of this case, the video message was brought out in the Court, and was declared illegal.

Last words: 
So we now know what triple talaq means, where it came from, and what stature it holds in India. We also see that the Quran does not recite triple talaq, or Talaq-e-Biddah as a means of divorce. The Indian Constitution now holds Triple talaq as illegal with a non-bailable punishment.

Although there have been numerous fights, petitions, rallies against the practice, and a law has been enforced to let Muslim women be safe under the marriage roof, is this enough to make sure they are secure? Though the triple talaq bill makes it unconstitutional and punishable for men, but it does not have any provisions for alimony to women. Hence, when their husbands are serving in prison, the women remain without any financial support from their in-laws.

Well, not just financial, the problem for women is more than that! Since polygamy is legal under the Muslim law, the easiest way for a man to avoid prison punishment is that he marries another woman and just abandon his first wife, leaving her in the same state as that of divorce.

There is still a long way to go until Muslim women get actual freedom from the irrational laws of society. Nonetheless, the progress that they have made, and are on the road to making is likely bringing light to many destroyed lives in India.

Triple talaq is only one such practice. But we believe that with the progress happening in India, the fundamental rights to living as part of the society for Muslim women would also be seen with equal importance, and necessary attention would be given to this fight that Indian women are facing to establish themselves equally in the Indian society.

Mutual Consent Divorce

  • To File Mutual Consent Divorce in Delhi and NCR
    Contact Adv.Tapan Choudhury at Ph no: 9650499965 (Available in Whatsapp)

  • To File Mutual Consent Divorce in Pune
    Contact NirDita Law Firm at Ph no: 8851978611 (Available in Whatsapp)

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